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Fernando Pessoa

Posted to WritersAndGenres

Fernando Pessoa (1888-1935), the Portuguese poet, was a genuine outsider, particularly since he spent his life as a bookkeeper and business translator, was celibate and semi-alcoholic, and was virtually unknown outside of Portugal until many years after his death.

He is renowned for the creation of "heteronyms", alternate and entirely autonomous "authors" under whose names he wrote his poems. These characters speak in different voices and styles, report on widely varying themes and seem to possess completely separate personalities. Pessoa even provided them with their own astrological charts.

Pessoa's autobiographical testament," The Book of Disquiet", similar to Rilke's "The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge", was neglected after his death and published only fifty years later. It contains glowingly original prose and some imagistic verse fragments. Pessoa's point of view and his luminous poetry remains unique and startlingly original. He is considered Portugal's major poet of the twentieth century.

Has anyone read Pessoa? Would anyone care to comment on his work?

A very interesting interview with some of his translators can be found here: